Amid the ongoing turmoil in Karnataka, the Supreme Court on Friday heard the matter of rebel Karnataka MLAs and ordered the speaker to maintain the status quo with regard to resignation and disqualification of 10 rebel MLAs. The apex court has now postponed the hearing to July 16.
In a relief to the rebel Congress-JDS MLAs, the Supreme Court said speaker should not decide on disqualification or resignation of MLAs till that date as constitutional issues needed to be addressed first.
Earlier in the day, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the rebel MLAs had stated that they have no objection if the Supreme Court gives the speaker more time to decide on resignation of MLAs, but there should be no disqualification of the rebel MLAs. He also urged the court to issue contempt notice if the speaker doesn’t want to decide at all.
Mukul Rohatgi pointed out that respective parties have issued whip to the rebel MLAs to be present in house and vote on the budget. This is a ploy to cause their disqualification and acceptance of resignation is being purposefully delayed, said Rohtagi.
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared on behalf of Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar said that the rebel MLAs had not followed the required format for submitting resignation. He said that their plea does not disclose a violation of fundamental rights and not a violation under Article 32.
Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Karnataka CM, told the Supreme Court that one of the rebel MLAs was involved in Ponzi scheme for which government is being accused of. He further argued that the petition of rebel MLAs should not have been entertained by the Supreme Court. The speaker has the responsibility to satisfy himself that resignations were voluntary. “Order on resignations was passed by SC without issuing a notice to the speaker,” said Dhavan.
On Wednesday, the Speaker had moved Supreme Court asking for more time to decide on these MLAs’ resignation. Karnataka Assembly Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had said that he will examine the resignations of all rebel MLAs and see if they were voluntary and genuine.
The top court on Thursday had directed the Karnataka Speaker to take a decision on the resignations submitted by the disgruntled Congress-JD(S) MLAs. On Thursday, the rebel MLAs of the JD(S)-Congress coalition had met Karnataka Speaker Ramesh Kumar to submit their resignation again. However, the Speaker did not take any decision.
If the speaker of the Karnataka accepts the resignations given by the rebel MLAs, then the 13-month-old Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka will lose the majority, paving the way for the BJP to stake claim to form the next government.